Staying vigilant against COVID-19
Thanks to COVID-19 vaccinations, we’re able to interact in-person again, see our friends’ faces, visit our parents—and have less fear that our elderly parents will catch this potentially deadly disease from their caregivers.
Unfortunately, new strands of COVID will continue to stalk us for a long time. So, we must stay vigilant, get our booster shots, and constantly test ourselves for the disease. This protection is vital for the elderly; many of them have comorbidities that leave them with a depressed immune system, so catching COVID-19 can be fatal.
At S. Gerber & Associates, 99 percent of our caregivers are vaccinated. The few holdouts aren’t assigned to a client unless the client and their family agree to work with an unvaccinated caregiver. We’re also closely following CDC guidelines. Each day, our caregivers self-screen for COVID symptoms through their phones and on written forms. If they have symptoms, they’re not coming to work, and I’m finding someone else who is symptom-free to cover for them until they have tested negative.
But our screening doesn’t end there. We’re also screening clients and household members so we can stay on top of any potential infections.
By taking the necessary steps to protect ourselves and each other, every one of us can protect the compromised health of our loved ones, so we can enjoy their company for years to come.
S. Gerber & Associates, 3730 Kirby Dr., Suite 1200, Houston, Texas 77098, 713-857-3227, firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 15, 2020
Dear Client and/or Family Member:
I wanted to communicate to you some of the most up to date information about the Coronavirus that the agency has obtained at this time and what changes to our policies and procedures have been or will be adopted in the near future to mitigate the spread of the infection and keep you, your loved ones, and our staff safe and healthy.
The agency’s caregivers continue to take the necessary precautions of washing hands, using sanitizer, wearing gloves, face masks and other protective equipment according to the guidelines and regulations established by the Texas Health and Human Services (THHS) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Caregivers have been screening themselves and have called into the agency if they exhibit any COVID-19 symptoms. Fortunately, none have reported symptoms yet.
In some cases, you or your loved one live in a facility or community where our caregivers are currently providing care. We continue to comply with their requirements that the caregiver be tested negative and provide the facility or community a written test result before the caregiver may enter the facility. These same facilities are also screening our caregivers before entering the building as well.
In addition to rules created by THHS that went into effect on April 17, 2020 (Rule 558.408: “Emergency Rule for HCSSA Response to COVID-19”), new regulations have recently been issued by the THHS and effective July 22nd, requiring that the agency staff screen our clients and family members living in the same household before each shift, as well as requiring that the caregivers self-screen each day. We must now document on every shift when a client is screened and any symptoms that are observed or responses from the screening before our caregivers even enter the client’s home. Our caregivers must also document the same when they screen themselves each day. In order for you to be informed, I have attached a copy of the agency’s Infection Control Policy for COVID-19 Precautions for your review and refer to if necessary. Unlike our caregivers, we are not requiring you to sign the statement, unless you voluntarily wish to. By the way, we are also providing some PPE supplies to our clients if requested, or keeping additional supplies at the clients we’re providing services to.
You and client household members will be screened before entering the home or residency as prescribed by the current regulation. I understand that it may not be practical in some cases, so we will make some accommodations for that, i.e. have the caregiver call in advance of their shift to conduct the screen or screen before entering the home or residence. If you are capable of screening yourself (if living in the same household with your loved one) and/or your loved one that we are providing care to, then please do so and let the caregiver record it on our screening form.
We ask that the client or client’s household member take their temperature before the shift begins if a thermometer is available and they are capable. If not available, the agency may provide our caregivers a thermometer to those who don’t have one. Although it is not required for my agency to take a temperature, we would like to be as accurate and thorough in our screening as we can be.
Regardless, I appreciate your cooperation and patience as always during these difficult times. We will make every effort to make this as easy as possible with minimal disruption and in the effort to curb the COVID-19 infection and meet the agency’s responsibilities and compliance to regulations. Please let me know if you have any questions at all.
Stay safe and healthy!
285.00 Infection Control Policy
It is Personal Caregiving Service’s (PCS)(herein known as “Agency”) policy to promptly document infections that are contracted by its clients including:
- the date that the infection was disclosed to the agency employee
- the client’s name
- the treatment plan
A summary of infections is reported semi-annually in Quality Assurance Performance Improvements meetings.
Until the State of Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the Center for Disease Control say otherwise, each employee of the Agency will perform a self-screening prior to each shift and record in the record-keeping Software App. (Temperature, potential exposure, any symptoms of COVID-19).
Agency will provide all necessary PPE to staff. PPE includes gloves, surgical masks and hand sanitizer. If a client is COVID-19 positive under investigation for COVID-19, Agency will also provide disposable gowns and face shields to staff caring for said client. Agency will keep an adequate supply of PPE at Agency location at all times and will deliver or ship necessary PPE as needed. Staff will keep Agency informed of PPE supply in the client’s home.
All newly admitted clients, clients’ household members, and newly hired employees are screened for COVID-19 symptoms prior to interview, orientation, admission, and before each shift worked. Temperature, potential exposure, and any symptoms suspicious of COVID-19 such as shortness of breath, sore throat or cough are recorded in the Agency's record-keeping software. Compliance will be measured during QAPI.
Upon determining that any employee has symptoms, potential exposure, or diagnosis of COVID-19, the employee will be ineligible to work for any client at least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and, at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared; or if completely asymptomatic, 14 days after the confirmed exposure; or upon receiving negative COVID-19 test results. All clients who have been in contact with employee in the past 14 days, and all employees who work with those clients will be notified of potential exposure.
Upon determining that any client or member of a client’s household has symptoms, potential exposure, or diagnosis of COVID-19, Agency instructs him/her to seek medical attention. Agency will evaluate the client’s requirement for ongoing services until a negative test has been presented or client has been asymptomatic for 14 days. Client/Household Member may be placed on 14-day quarantine away from Agency and all employees. If a COVID-19 positive client requires continued assistance with activities of daily living that we are unable to provide, the Agency will ensure the client receives adequate care by a healthcare professional.
PCS Employee/Client Statement: I _______________________ agree to wear PPE provided to me by the Agency, such as masks and gloves, and to use universal precautions at all times to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19. I agree to follow Agency’s Infection Control Procedures and COVID-19 screening protocol.
PCS Employee/Client Signature Date
PCS Employee/Client Printed Name